IVFMD Fertility Specialists Uncover the Many Causes of Ovulatory Dysfunction.
In order for a woman to conceive, she must first develop a mature egg located inside a follicle. The process of ovulation releases the mature egg and leads to the production of a hormone called progesterone. The regularity of a woman’s menstrual cycles provides clues as to whether she is ovulating regularly. When those cycles are less than 26 days or greater than 34 days then there is potential for an ovulatory dysfunction. Vaginal spotting towards the end of her menstrual cycle may indicate inadequate progesterone production.
There are many causes for why a woman experiences an ovulatory dysfunction.
Some are temporary while others are more permanent. Stress, both psychological and physical, can delay development of a mature follicle and abnormally lengthen the menstrual cycle. Endocrine disorders, such as thyroid problems or elevated levels of prolactin (hormone used in milk production), may also cause menstrual irregularity. Women at the extremes of reproductive age (i.e. teenagers, women in their mid-forties) commonly have irregular menstrual cycles. Likewise, women at the extremes of body mass (either too high or too low) may experience irregularity.
The physician will use the history and physical to narrow down the list of causes. Sonogram monitoring during the course of the menstrual cycle is used to verify follicle development. Blood progesterone testing in the second half of the menstrual cycle will also help. Treatment involves correction of any underlying condition where appropriate. In the absence of a correctable endocrine cause, ovulation induction medications can be used. These come in both oral and injectable forms. Vaginal progesterone supplementation may also be used for some women.